The Cutting Room Floor

By The Advocates

Our published tax talk with @KurtBox, was significantly edited in the interest of brevity. Yes, I considered that brevity.

Still, I can’t resist the temptation to share some nuggets that didn’t make the cut. These points are meant to be endearing, not instructional. If you’re on board with that, read on. If not, see you next week.

The Trimmings

  • Before anything, Kurt talked about his dogs, Sadie and Bobe (pronounced “Bow-bee”). The latter, a large black goldendoodle, is the obvious favorite and the oft recipient of praise on our weekly “Thankful Thursday” check-in calls where we express gratitude for stuff.
  • Kurt denied being part of an advanced alien civilization that was sent incognito to Earth to either save us or destroy us, which I believe, is exactly what an alien spy would say. I’m not convinced.
  • He believes people should give to charity regardless of tax incentives. Kurt is on the board of several charities including @Mercy House Global, is one of the founders of @CaringforKorah, and is an adoptive father to two children.
  • “If you’re offered more money to do your job, say yes, that’s my advice.” This said in response to those who refuse raises in order to avoid an increased tax burden. Free tip, folks!
  • For those in a “debt spiral”, Kurt advises financial counseling. He tentatively okays a one-time early withdrawal from a retirement account only if the debt is from a single event, like a medical thing. If it’s a lifestyle problem, it’d be like “putting a band-aid on a gunshot wound”.
  • He thinks hedge fund managers should have to pay income taxes and is tired of politicians from both sides promising to get rid of loopholes for them. They never do.  You’re probably thinking the same thing Kurt is follow the money.
  • He’s a tree hugger, sort of. He appreciated a “loophole” we found that offers Hawaiian citizens a break for growing and protecting “exceptional” trees, saying “we need more trees, period”.

Giving a Grown Woman Homework

Our conversation generated several questions, mostly curiosities, and I was tasked with finding the answers.  Please enjoy the results of my googling.

Is debtor’s jail still a thing?

Not technically. The physical buildings and systems were abolished under federal law in 1833, but today’s prisons hold a significant number of people who owe fees and fines in de facto Debtor’s Prisons. This 2015 FAQ from the US Justice Department goes into more detail.

What happens to unused FSA funds?

Turns out they funds are returned to the employer who can use them in several ways, according to The FSA Store.

Does Vegas send 1099s for casino winnings?

Yeah, they do; it’ll be a W-2G or a 1099-MISC if you win at least:

  • $1200 from bingo or slot machines
  • $1500 from keno
  • $5000 from poker tournaments
  • $600 from other types of gambling
  • More info can be found here.

What percentage of people itemize each year?

2017’s major tax overhaul reduced the percentage of itemizers from roughly 30% down to 11.47% according to SmartAsset.

Can you get a deduction for donating meat?

It’s rare (see what I did there?) but you sure can if you’re in North Carolina, South Carolina, or Maryland and you’re donating venison.

Of course, this applies only to the state return and the animals must be legally hunted. More info here.

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